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Hey everyone!

So, the Whole Life Activation awards were this past Friday. While I was deeply honored to be on the short list, another author won. I have no doubt that she is talented and deserving of the honor.

And, despite all of you that voted for the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’, it didn’t even place in the final round in the AuthorsDB cover contest.

For a short time today, it hurt. I freely admit it. Authors are still human, after all. We want to be told we did good and win contests. Have that validation that all the months of crappy sales or writer’s block was worth it. So, when you come close to that brass ring, it hurts when you get told no. You weren’t good enough.

The thing is, I am good enough. I write good books that are entertaining. I’m not a total jerk to my publisher or readers (at least, I hope I’m not. If I’ve been a jerk to you, please let me know and we’ll hash it out). I’ve come too far to sink back into the mindset of I’m not going to be good enough.

I’ve survived rape.

I’ve survived a parent who was narcissistic.

I’ve survived being bullied.

I’ve survived crippling self-doubt.

I have gone through some really bad crap in my life. And come out on top. This isn’t the last award I’ll be up for. It’s not the end of my career. It’s the beginning. It marks another step forward because my work is being noticed now.

You can not let a single event dictate your future as an author. Ride the wave of hurt and disappointment, then find your resolve again. Because there’s no way to change the past. All we can do is look to the future.

BB

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Hey everyone.

I can’t really think about books much today. I’m afraid I’m numb.

The ideas are there. Books will be written, promoted, etc. But I fear sometimes that we as a society simply don’t care enough any more. Not about books. But about each other.

It’s not about gun control, or a good person with a gun showing up at the right time. It’s not about mental health, or legislation. It’s about how much we’ve lost.

We’ve lost our compassion, our innate need to help one another. Tragedies happen, and we light candles, say prayers, donate blood. But does it really help? A month later, someone else goes on a rampage.

The root cause, for me, is intolerance. We’re afraid of our neighbors because they’re different than us. We scurry down the street, shielding our children, because someone is holding hands with the person they love and it goes against what they believe.

Does marriage equality really hurt anyone? No more than straight marriage.

Does the mosque down the street hurt anyone? No more than a Christian one.

Does listening to country music rot your brain? No more than heavy metal or pop.

Do we need to fear the person who doesn’t speak English? No, we need to be patient with them.

We need to stop fearing what is different than us and start remembering that we’re all human.

BB

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

Yeah! It’s Halloween!

Woke up to some amazing news! ‘Guarding Charon’ made it to the semi-finals for the cover contest!

Guarding Charon KateMarie Collins

Voting closes on November 5th, and I can use all the votes I can muster! https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/23632-cover-contest-2017-guarding-charon

The WLA gala is 10 days away. Yes, I’m getting nervous. LOL. Do I wish I could make the trip? Yes. But I have responsibilities and our bank account isn’t so deep that I can spend $2k to go to a party in London. No matter how much I want to go.

Other than that, things are going well. I’m working on ‘Guarding Amber’, taking care of me and my family.

There’s a balancing act that authors have to do. It’s being able to devote time to our writing, promotion, and still be present for our families. It’s cooking dinner while you’re writing dialogue in your head. Thinking about a fight scene while you take out the trash. Debating a plot point while feeding the cats. Deciding the next step for the antagonist while at a meeting.

Being a writer doesn’t stop. If you’ve grabbed the brass ring and are now published, it only ramps things up. It doesn’t slow down. Because you’re always trying to find a promotion that works, tweaking the marketing, or working on the next book.

There’s no fast track to success in the literary world. No overnight success for someone who has no name recognition. If your book isn’t selling, you have to rethink what you’re doing. If you’re even doing anything at all.

And that’s the real downer. Because you won’t sell books if people don’t recognize your name. And they won’t recognize your name unless you promote.

BB

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It’s Monday!

It’s been an interesting week since I last posted. In some ways, I’m still processing everything. And it was all good things!

First off, I found out I’m now on the short list for Author of the Year from Whole Life Activation, a group in London, England that celebrates women making a difference. I’m beyond humbled and honored. With a fair amount of excited in there as well. LOL. The ceremony takes place on November 10th. As much as I’d like to go, it’s not feasible right now. When you have college bills to pay for, spending $2k to go to a gala in London isn’t being fiscally responsible. No matter the outcome, I’m thrilled. While I don’t know the other three finalists, I’m certain that I’m in amazing company.

Today, I found out the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’ is a semi-finalist for the Authordb.com cover of the year award!

If I can be so bold, I need votes! You can go here (https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/23632-cover-contest-2017-guarding-charon) and vote/leave a review! Even if you think one of the other semi-finalists is a better cover, the votes are crucial. You don’t have to vote for me…just do it!

Being an author is a lot of highs and lows. You spend days/weeks/months/years even trying to get your name out there. All but begging for reviews. And then you get weeks like this last one. Where you find out that maybe you really are making an impact in the pond. Where you get hope that those small ripples will continue to spiral out and widen your readership.

And that maybe, just maybe, all the struggles to get there will be worth it.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! It’s getting colder out. I threw on a jacket this morning before driving our youngest to school. And am now swathed in one of my dad’s cardigans.

I want to talk about one of the worst behaviors as an adult. It’s not just a writer problem. But we need to stop whining on social media. Especially if you’re published or hope to be one day.

I’m not talking a simple ‘crap, the battery on my car died’ type whine. I’m talking the out and out pity party. Oh woe is me someone else did x and I planned to do that. Why are my sales so bad? Can’t you leave a review?

Shut up. Put on your big kid panties, grow a thick skin, and grow up.

Readers don’t care if you found out information ‘first’. They don’t care if your sales are bad. Because they’re dealing with real life as well. Throwing yourself a pity party on social media is just wrong. Especially if you’re doing it in relation to a book of yours.

Readers don’t care if my parents died 7 months apart. They don’t care if my van’s breaking down. They want to buy into the illusion that life as an author is AMAZING!!! Filled with celebrity guest dinner parties, calls and texts from Hollywood all day long (I’m here if they’re interested! LOL), and that my hardest decision outside of plot points revolve around what dress to wear to a premiere or if I’m buying a Lexus or BMW this year.

This industry’s unique in that the nice guy finishes first. Publishers and agents want to work with authors without feeling stymied at every turn. They want to have a good working relationship, not an adversarial one. Which also means authors need to have a thick skin and know how to behave in public. Social media IS public. It’s the nature of the beast, no matter what site you’re using. And, yes, agents and publishers worth signing with WILL check your twitter and FB news feed to gauge what sort of author you are.

Nowadays, there’s more to this than selling your m/s. You have to sell yourself as a public person as well. If you can’t contain your sorrow over something trivial and whine about being cheated, it’s a strike against you.

From the moment you decide you want to be a published author, start acting like one on social media. Be professional and pleasant. Be someone others want to follow, read, and emulate. Think about the authors you admire. Do they curse at readers for not leaving a review? Do they scream about the ‘injustice’ of their agent/publisher? Do they fabricate drama because they need people to pay attention to them?

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not the loss, because there’s no real loss. Every story that can be written has been. How you tell it, the words you choose, is what makes your books stand out from the millions of others on Amazon. People hate drama, especially manufactured drama where someone gets ‘hurt’ or ‘insulted’ over the smallest things. Guess what? Pirates steal my books all the time. They’re making money off of my hard work. But I’m not on FB, crying and whining about it.

It’s called being a professional. If you crave that much attention, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when you get published. Because publishers, agents, and readers don’t have time or energy to coddle you every time you get a bad review.

BB

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When the horror becomes real

I can’t say good morning.

I can’t say happy Monday.

Not when so many families are waking up to the news of the shooting in Las Vegas.

Not when so many families still don’t know what happened to their loved ones in Puerto Rico.

As an author, I’m supposed to imagine horror. Cause bad things to happen to good people. When the earth herself does the damage…or someone who is supposed to be a functional, productive member of society….it hurts all of us.

Hurricanes are real. And, in my belief, the frequency and severity are a result of climate change. This post isn’t to debate that. Storms like that are meant as a reminder to us that we’re not as immortal as we like to think we are. That, yes, the weather around us can be deadly.

Mass shootings….there’s not a reason for them. It’s not gun control. It’s not mental health issues. It’s not ideology or religious differences.

It’s a cowardly way to gain fame and notoriety. It’s taking the extremist road to ‘solving’ problems over doing something more productive.

Because there is nothing productive about slaughtering people. Doesn’t matter if you know them, or don’t. Doesn’t matter the age, gender, religion, or hair color. There’s no reason for it. No way to legislate it away. No law that can’t be circumvented or ignored by someone who wants to do just that.

We as a global society cannot continue to murder each other as a solution to some problem that we think exists.

One reason I write is for therapy. There’s a lot of things from my childhood that I’m still sorting through. But I’ve never once thought violence was a way to deal with them.

We need to care about each other again. Be willing to roll up our sleeves and help unload groceries for the neighbor who uses a cane. Go out of our way to make people feel like they matter, that they’re not forgotten.

We need to stop saying it’s not our business and start to make it our business. Because the next shooting is one rejection away. And you could be the one at the concert.

My heart hurts.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! I hope your weekend was a good one.

Almost three years ago, I wrote a post about the myth of the book store signing (here’s a link if you want to read it:¬†https://katemariecollins.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/the-myth-of-the-book-store-signing/). Now that I’m doing these on a monthly basis, I wanted to talk about the reality of these events.

First off, don’t go into one expecting to have a crowd of people waiting for you. Most often than not, people will think you work for the store initially. At my first Barnes & Noble event, I barely sold more books than I got asked where the restroom was. LOL. I turned it into a game at one point.

Second, expect to have long blocks of time (could be an hour straight) where no one comes over and wants to know who you are. You shouldn’t be on your phone much, or reading a book. Basically, don’t do something that makes people think they would be interrupting you. You’re going to have to sit there, smile, try to engage people who keep walking past you, and be bored.

Third, be nice to the staff! Don’t be that jerk author who is demanding that they announce you’re there every 15 minutes because there’s people in the store but no one’s paying attention to you. Don’t sigh, look bored, and snap at staff who are really there to do their job. Which doesn’t include catering to you and your whims. They gave you a table, chair, and ordered your books (or let you bring your own). They don’t get paid to fetch you water, or manhandle customers into talking to you.

Think of it this way. If you walked into a book store and saw an author, how would you approach them? How would you expect them to respond to you? Would you go up to someone who’s got their face in a Kindle or a phone? Who wore a look of utter boredom and exasperation?

In order to draw in readers, you have to be the type of author you’d want to approach. Yes, it’s a major accomplishment to get ‘big enough’ to get a book store signing. That doesn’t mean you get to unleash your ego and let it run amok. Put your ego aside and be humble.

Oh, and make sure you’re not bathed in perfume or cologne. You want to be clean, but a lot of people have allergies to scents. They won’t come closer if the aroma’s so strong that they can taste it from ten feet away.

BB

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